Artwork is a rendered version of an artwork by Ashlee Murray.
Design: Kevin Vo
Artwork is a rendered version of an artwork by Ashlee Murray.
Design: Kevin Vo
Entries for the 2018 Blacktown City Art Prize are now open.
Now in its 23rd year, the Blacktown City Art Prize is a highly valued art prize, with cash prizes of $20,000 and acquisitive awards. Local, regional and national artists are invited to submit entries in drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics and mixed media.
The winner of the Blacktown City Art Prize will receive $15,000. Three supporting prizes will also be awarded:
This year, the winners of the Local Artist Prize and Aboriginal Artist Prize will also have the opportunity to undertake a residency in one of Blacktown Arts’ Main Street studios.
The addition of a studio residency to the prize pool is an exciting opportunity for artists who want to engage with people or places in Blacktown.
In 2015, Alexandra Byrne created Lucas Road at night (outside my place) during an artist residency at Blacktown Arts’ Main Street studios; the work went on to win the Local Artist Prize later that year.
The Blacktown City Art Prize also celebrates the creativity of local young people through an environmentally-themed Young Artists Prize. This section is open to 5 – 15 year olds who live or go to school in the Blacktown Local Government Area.
Selected works will be exhibited at The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre from Saturday 1 December 2018 – Friday 25 January 2019.
Entries close at 5 pm on Tuesday 9 October 2018.
The fee is $26.00 per entry with a limit of two entries per artist. Photography, film, video and installation works will not be accepted.
The 2018 Blacktown City Art Prize is proudly supported by Ford Land Company, Westlink M7, Blacktown Workers Club and Blacktown City Council’s Sustainable Living program.
Misim Song, Desolate II (detail), 2017. Finalist in the 2017 Blacktown City Art Prize.
Blacktown Arts is accepting new applications for two significant artist-in-residence opportunities.
The Pat Parker Memorial Residency honours Patricia Parker’s (OAM) pioneering contribution to the development of community arts in Blacktown and beyond. This residency is open to artists with exciting ideas for innovative collaborations with communities in the spirit of Pat Parker’s passions including women’s rights, lesbian and gay rights, Aboriginal issues and Blacktown’s history and heritage.
The Without Borders Residency is open to artist/s with disability, disability services, arts organisations or community groups working on creative projects and development opportunities. The residency supports projects in any art form at any stage in their creative development.
Blacktown Arts provides up to $5,000 for these residencies to cover artist fees, mentoring fees or production costs as well as in-kind space and some administrative support.
Previous applicants can re-apply, but should contact Blacktown Arts to discuss their application.
Applications close Thursday, 22 March 2018.
Sarah Houbolt (2016 Without Borders artist-in-residence) by Joshua Morris
Blacktown Arts will host a selection of local, national and international artists throughout 2018 as part of the Creative Residency Program.
These artists will explore their artistic practice and develop individual projects at The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre and Blacktown’s Main Street art studios.
Blacktown’s 2018 artists-in-residence are:
Troy Russell – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Residency
In collaboration with choreographer Henrietta Baird and Ensemble Offspring, Troy Russell will produce contemporary compositions inspired by his grandmother’s stories.
Gabriella Florek – Performing Arts Residency
Emerging contemporary theatre writer Gabriella Florek will develop a new work based on stories of suburban life in multicultural Blacktown.
Michelle Vernot – Visual Arts Studio Residency
Local visual artist Michelle Vernot will create a series of ball gowns using found natural materials such as leaves and other objects.
Dennis Sultana – Visual Arts Studio Residency
Dennis Sultana is a local artist who will produce a series of paintings for an upcoming exhibition.
Justine Youssef – Visual Arts Studio Residency
Multi-media artist Justine Youssef will engage with Arabic communities in Western Sydney to produce photographic and video works that explore the displacement of Arabic culture across the world.
Neda Farrahi – Visual Arts Studio Residency
Neda Farrahi will create a series of portraits of members of the Blacktown community.
Lorraine Simiana – Visual Arts Studio Residency
Lorraine Simiana will experiment with different processes and materials to visualise sound.
Sima Alikhani – Visual Arts Studio Residency
Sima Alikhani – winner of the 2016 Blacktown City Art Prize People’s Choice Prize – will explore the style of Persian miniature painting.
Helmy El-Rab – Visual Arts Studio Residency
Helmy El-Rab will explore his painting practice to produce a series of portraits.
Nicole Cadelina – Visual Arts Studio Residency
Nicole Cadelina will explore a full range of artistic processes including performance, video installation, photography and text-based art.
Lana Kershaw – Pat Parker Memorial Residency
Lana Kershaw will develop a series of short monologues related to domestic violence in partnership with the Women’s Activities and Self-Help House in Mount Druitt.
Pepa Molina – Without Borders Residency
Pepa Molina will research and develop her new dance work Perceptions in consultation with the retired Hispanic communities in Blacktown, including community members who have 3rd and 4th stage dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The Creative Residency Program is known for supporting artistic development and emerging arts practices. The program offers both space and/or funding throughout the year to selected recipients, providing artists with an opportunity to begin, develop or finish their artistic project.
Lorraine Simiana by Joshua Morris
Are you an artist looking for a great space to create new work in? Do you have a creative project ready for the next development phase?
Blacktown Arts Centre’s Creative Residency Program supports artistic development and emerging arts practices in all forms.
The 2018 program offers space and funded residencies in the following categories:
The Creative Residency Program offers exciting opportunities for artists who want to engage with people or places in Blacktown, often resulting in a rich collaboration between artists and communities.
Applications for the 2018 Creative Residency Program close on Thursday, 14 September 2017.
Sandy Maestro, 2017 artist-in-residence, by Joshua Morris
Naomi McCarthy and Shirley Daborn received the Pat Parker Memorial Residency in 2017 which provides funding for artists that focus primarily on engaging with Blacktown communities. Here’s what they have planned during their residency for their proposed project, Veil of Wishes.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Naomi | I am deeply interested in bearing witness to people’s individual lives. I have an ear for the genuine and am drawn closer to people through quiet moments of authentic expression. Strangely, I am quite a noisy person, but I am also a careful listener, looking for the deeper truths being expressed.
Shirley | I have found great pleasure in working with people who don’t typically see themselves involved in the arts. For this project, it is the possibility of discovering something new, making surprising connections and being a catalyst for creative engagement that are motivating factors.
What is Dandelion Projects’ Veil of Wishes about?
Naomi & Shirley | This project sets out to collect and share the individual secret wishes, dreams and desires of people in the Blacktown community. The Veil of Wishes is a public art project funded through the Pat Parker Memorial Residency. This project will culminate in the creation of a substantial art installation made from tissue paper dandelions accompanied by a digital text-based component anonymously sharing the wishes of project participants.
Where did the idea for the project come from?
Naomi & Shirley | This project was born out of one of our many, many conversations and is intended to draw people closer, to use creativity as a way to ignite and excite curiosity, engagement and exchange. The blowing of dandelion clocks is a symbol of wishing that is ingrained in countless childhood memories.
Inviting people to contribute a dandelion, along with a secret wish, seemed a wonderful way of encouraging people to embrace the possibility that wishes are worth articulating whether they come true or not.
We don’t know what this project will reveal, perhaps the uniqueness of people’s secret wishes or perhaps the similarities. We are excited to have the opportunity, through the lens of art, to encounter, experience and consider lives other than our own.
How did you both meet and what sparked this collaboration?
Naomi & Shirley | We are long standing friends who love people, love art and love making things happen!
What is your process for gathering people’s wishes?
Naomi & Shirley | We will be inviting community and education groups to participate by making dandelions and submitting wishes. We will be distributing Veil of Wishes kits with everything needed to participate.
See our web site for more information www.dandelionprojects.com
What advice would you give your younger selves?
Naomi | Whatever you are doing in life, be wholly there. Be generous in your attitude to life, to yourself and to others. Resist judging and embrace feeling.
Shirley | Don’t be afraid of not knowing what you don’t know but instead channel the inner child, be curious and continue to ask questions. Just get started and let the ending take care of itself.
Naomi and Shirley are hosting a series of free dandelion-making workshops.
The paper flowers made by participants will form a large-scale collaborative artwork that will be assembled at Blacktown Arts Centre in December 2017.
Saturday, 30 September & Saturday, 7 October
Joshua Morris, 2017.
Sometimes you find art in the most unlikely places. Here’s a 10 step tour of Blacktown that will take you to some of our city’s most creative corners!
Since FUNPARK first came to Bidwill in 2013, various creative projects have emerged in the area including Annemaree Dalziel’s curved gabion wall – a structure supported by wire cages – and a large-scale footpath mural made by Province in collaboration with the Bidwill community. Designed through a series of structured workshops with children from the neighbourhood, the mural tells the story of the community through abstract patterns.
A number of other projects are currently being planned. Watch that space!
Local artists Donna Brown and Jamie Eastwood have painted large murals on the new water storage tanks at Blacktown International Sportspark. The tanks were built as part of the Angus Creek Stormwater Harvesting and Reuse Scheme, and revealed in 2016.
Blacktown Arts Centre’s backyard is more than just a carpark. In 2011, Blacktown City Council planted the Weaving Garden, which continues to be maintained by Blacktown’s community through workshops and gatherings initiated by Blacktown Arts. #ThisIsHowWeGather
The backyard is also home to Brook Andrew’s large caravan artwork, Travelling Colony, Toni Warburton’s ceramic sculptures Risk: Pendulum Actions (arc 3/2015), and the vertical Democratic Garden, which was first developed in partnership with Urban Theatre Projects in 2014.
The Village Green is home to a number of site-specific artworks by local artists Jacinta Tobin, Nerine Martini, Tracie Bertram and Robyn Caughlan.
These murals were created by artists Joanne Saad and Abbas Makrab. Students from Colyton Public School and Chifley College Senior Campus helped design the murals. Local artist Leanne Tobin was also engaged in developing the concept and design of the artwork, drawing inspiration from Wiannamatta ‘Mother’ Creek Story (South Creek Story).
The new roadway entry into Nurragingy Reserve, off Knox Road in Doonside, was opened in 2015. The site features 31 artworks by local Indigenous artists, Uncle Danny Eastwood and his son, Jamie Eastwood. The artworks on the ribbon entry symbolise the original history of the site, featuring flora and fauna, the waterways, bushland and recognise the significance of Nurragingy and Colebee.
This site has been used as a long-term studio for visual artists-in-residence since 2008. There are currently 3 suites occupied by approximately 6 artists each year. Read more.
Charles Lomu – local barber, all-round good guy and one of the stars of our recent exhibition Garage Barbershop – practices the fine art of barbering from his own garage in Blacktown. Book a cut with Charles!
Legal or not, you’ll find art pasted across the streets of Blacktown. In 2016, artist Wendy Murray wrote an article for Art Guide about her self-made tour of Blacktown’s street art scene. Does Blacktown have its own Banksy? Read more.
With 2 gallery spaces, a 75-seat performance studio and a workshop studio inside its walls, Blacktown Arts Centre supports artistic innovation and offers exciting, new experiences for audiences through an award-winning curated program of exhibitions, performances, workshops, residencies and events. Read more.
Meet artists and first-year university students, Katie Masonwells and Jocelyn Depamaylo, recent residents in the Main Street Studios.
What motivated you to apply for the creative residency program straight out of high school?
Katie | We are very ambitious and we applied for the residency because we wanted a reason to continue with art since we’re both pursuing more … ‘sustainable’ options in university.
Jocelyn | We saw the residency as a great opportunity to develop our abilities and gain more experience, so that we would have the option of pursuing art as a future career.
Tell us a bit more about the project Blacktown Storyboard.
Katie | The project is based around the notion of storytelling – namely, the construction of narratives in art. We especially delve into the concept of liminality – which just means a point between two thresholds. It is a concept that’s very relevant to us because we are standing in the middle of so many options for our future: we just left high school, so we’re caught in this place between youth and adulthood, as well as different career opportunities and pathways. Again, it’s a storyboard – everything has some kind of narrative attached to it and every artwork is carefully constructed to express this.
Jocelyn | Since storyboards are meant to visualise a final project, it’s like the project itself involves us experimenting and growing and trying to figure out what we’re doing with our lives …
Katie | So we thought that exploring the area and the stories of other people would be a good place to start.
How will you tell these stories?
Jocelyn | We decided to balance our skills and make this work through a series of collaborative projects on top of our own individual works. Our strengths are quite different, mine being landscapes and watercolour paints while Katie’s is portraiture and pencil. The concepts of liminality, growth and potential pretty much link all of our projects together. We aim to explore social realities that are not only relevant to us personally, but to the rest of the community in the hopes that our works resonate more deeply with the audience.
Katie | We’ve also filmed the process of making some of our artworks, so that we can make a short video at the end of the residency, or the end of the year, that we can publish ourselves. Since we’ve been using the local area as inspiration, the video is part of our project to engage the community and to document and share the artistic process with the public. The video that we are currently constructing is this idea of putting together inspiration and artwork, much like cause and effect.
What artists or movements inspire you?
Katie | We look at various movements and styles, but we particularly like to look at renaissance works. We think of them as a paragon of technique, and we like to compare to see just how well we’re doing. Otherwise, I am very fascinated by postmodernism. Postmodernism tends to delve inwards rather than outwards, exploring the self, the psyche and the personality. It looks at subjectivities and anxieties quite unashamedly and quite bluntly.
Jocelyn | My art style tends to take from some postmodern qualities such as using visual symbols to create deeper meaning. Though honestly, the “Aesthetic Movement”, which is basically making works simply for its aesthetic quality and nothing more, drives most of my practice. I find Reylia Slaby, a Japanese artist and photographer, rather interesting, particularly how she merges fantastical themes with reality. She incorporates female subjects in a style that is beautiful but dark; subject matter I tend to explore quite often.
What is your favourite place in Blacktown?
Jocelyn | I really like Blacktown library. Despite it being the centre for stressful students – particularly during exam time – it’s always be a go-to place to meet with our friends to study (or at least pretend to study).
Photograph of Katie Masonwells and Jocelyn Depamaylo by Joshua Morris, 2017
Leanne Tobin is the recipient of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Creative Residency in 2017.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your artistic practice.
As a Darug person descended from the original people of this place, I want people to be more aware of the history and of the people who lived here before and whose stories are widely unknown. I use my art to tell these local stories and to evoke a sense of social justice towards our people and also to help increase an environmental conscience to our land as we struggle to maintain a sense of custodianship.
I try to highlight our shared role in caring for country while conveying the intrinsic spiritual connection Aboriginal people have always had with this land.
What is your project for this residency?
Nurragingy the Man.
Why did you focus on Nurragingy for this project?
Often in the greater Sydney region, names are given to various places, streets and suburbs with very little mentioned about the actual people from whom these names originated. Nurragingy Reserve is well known but little is known about the Eastern Creek Elder from which this name originated. I wanted to bring forth the human face and introduce people to this remarkable man.
Can you give us a brief history of the Darug people?
The Darug people were the first to feel the impact of the arrival of the British to Australia in 1778. Within three years of that landing, two-thirds of the Darug people were wiped out from disease (smallpox) along with ongoing skirmishes as they fought to defend their country. Despite their efforts, their homelands were stolen and taken over in a desperate land grab for farmland. The survivors of this invasion were then herded into reserves or placed in institutions in an attempt to ‘domesticate’ them. Today, the Darug are in recovery-mode, putting back together the broken pieces that came about from being dispossessed, and are working hard to be recognised and acknowledged in a land they have never left.
If you could give your younger self any advice what would it be?
Seize opportunities that arise. Don’t be afraid to ask the ‘dumb’ questions. All questions deserve answers and if we are fearful of being judged then we miss out on many learning opportunities.
From left: Leanne Tobin, Suffer the Little Children, 2012; Nurragingy and Colebee and the Native institute, 2009; Burbagana -Give Me Your Hand and I’ll Help you Up, 2015. Courtesy and copyright Leanne Tobin.
In 2015, Tina was an artist-in-residence at the Main Street Studios, Blacktown. Two years on, we caught up with Tina to reflect on her experience of the program.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your practice.
I have worked mainly with printmaking, focusing on etching. I really enjoy working with multiple plate colour etching. I also like working with drawing, painting and photography. Since the residency, my focus has been on making digital prints. My work is inspired by the ordinary and mundane scenes of the city and suburban spaces. I like to capture the fleeting scene that can go unnoticed in our daily busy life. I am also interested in the sense of alienation that can be sometimes experienced in the urban environment, but also the beauty that can be part of these scenes. I love exploring the landscape that I am familiar with on a daily basis.
Before applying for a studio residency in Blacktown, what kind of experience did you have in the arts?
I hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Art and a Master of Fine Arts from UNSW Art and Design. I have had many shows including solo shows at the the Robin Gibson Gallery. I am a member of the Sydney Printmakers whose members include Ruth Faber, Michael Kempson, Rew Hanks and many other extremely talented artists.
What were your expectations before starting your studio residency?
I came into the residency with an open mind. I wanted the space and experience to guide my art practice. I wanted to experiment with new ideas and methodology. The residency was broadly based on the roadway environment which meant there was room to play with ideas. I chose to focus on the interconnection of regions and how public transport plays a role in this.
Specifically as a printmaker, how were you able utilise your Main Street studio space to experiment with techniques?
The space was useful as it allowed me to remove myself from my usual art making habits. I was able to work on concepts and ideas and to focus more on photography and digital prints, which won me the 2017 Wyndham Art Prize. I also produced a series of paintings, one of which was included in the 2015 Blacktown City Art Prize. I would say that the only restriction was that I was not allowed to stay in the studio after business hours for security reasons which I totally understand, but later access to the studio would have been beneficial.
Following on from this, how did your practice as a printmaker develop during your residency?
The residency has definitely helped to further my career as an artist. As previously mentioned, I recently won the 2017 Wyndham Art prize with work that began developing during the residency. I have also been a finalist in numerous art prizes nationwide. These include the Freemantle Arts Centre Print Award, Stanthorpe Art Prize, Blacktown City Art Prize, Rick Amor Drawing Prize, Bay of Fires Art Prize, and this year the The Paramor Prize: Art + Innovation and The Head On Photography Art Prize. Being part of the Blacktown Arts Residency Program was a great experience and I would recommend it to any artist thinking about applying. It exceeded my expectations as I not only got the chance to expand on my art practice and methodology but also develop on a professional basis.
What are you working on now?
I continue to work and expand on the ideas developed during the residency and I have been busy working on a series of work titled An Ordinary Day which so far includes digital prints and paintings. I want to continue working with digital print, get back into the studio and work on some etching and painting and continue observing the urban landscape.
Tina Barahanos, Passenger Train. Finalist in the 2016 Paramor Prize for Art + Innovation.